What should I do if I’m pregnant but still smoking?
Most pregnant women want to protect their baby by quitting smoking. If you’re pregnant, the best thing for your health and the health of your baby is to try your best to quit.
If you’re worried about how you’ll deal with issues like stress, boredom, or simply the thought that “I enjoy smoking”, rest assured that you really can manage these.
You might want to read our section on ‘Having Doubts’ if you’re feeling unsure about how you’ll cope with these issues.
It’s also helpful to have an open and honest discussion with your doctor or health care worker. They can talk you through different quit smoking strategies and advise on how best to deal with your concerns and barriers.
If you’d prefer a confidential chat with a smoking expert, call the NSW Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) or click here to request a call-back
Using Incentives to Quit Smoking
Incentives in pregnancy can be a big help in successful quitting. Why not give the following idea a go – you could even modify it to better suit your situation.
Example Quit Smoking Incentive:
- For a short period of time, try to put aside the money you would save if you weren’t spending it on cigarettes. While this might be tricky due to budget constraints, see if you can save around $100 - $200 (any amount is fine).
- At the same time, team up with a trustworthy friend and ask them whether they would be willing to add any of their own money (or a gift) to the money you have saved – on the one condition you remain smoke-free.
- Then make an agreement with your friend: If you are able to stop smoking throughout pregnancy, you get to keep all the money to spend on a gift for yourself and/or your baby when it arrives.
- If you don’t manage to quit smoking during your pregnancy, you must give all the money to your friend.
Why not give it a go – there are plenty of variations you could try!
Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) While Pregnant
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always best to try practical, non-pharmacological solutions first to overcome smoking cravings.
However, if you find that nothing is working – or you are still getting nicotine cravings that are leading you back to smoking – there is the option of using oral Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
NRT is always the safer option compared to smoking; with the correct dose, there is less nicotine in NRT products compared to smoking, and they do not contain the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke.
Talk to your GP or call the NSW Quitline on 13 7848 (13 QUIT) for more information.
Read more about Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Facts About Smoking During Pregnancy
If you’re keen to find out the true effects of smoking in pregnancy, it might help to be aware of the following statistics:
- There is no safe level of smoking during pregnancy
- Even trying to cut down to maintain a low level of smoking while pregnant does not eliminate the risk to your baby; the only real way of protecting your child is to quit
- Smoking in pregnancy significantly increases the chance of having a premature and low birth weight baby
- Low birth weight does not make delivery any easier – and babies born with low birth weight are more likely to have negative health outcomes
- Smoking during pregnancy leads to a greater risk of your baby needing to be taken into intensive care
- Quitting in pregnancy does NOT add stress to your baby, it can only help.
It’s best to quit smoking before you become pregnant, or as early as possible during your pregnancy.
But remember – quitting smoking at any point in your pregnancy will reduce the health risks to yourself and your unborn child.